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Author Topic:   Healthcare In The USA
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9938
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 1 of 72 (519434)
08-13-2009 4:28 PM


Can anyone explain to me the situation with the current healthcare bill in the US?

My source of US news is all too often "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart (and even he doesn't pretend that this is news as such ). My last viewing portrayed a series of irate and incredibly aggressive confrontations in local town halls with anti-healthcare members of the public denouncing Obama as a communist Arab selling America to the devil.

So what is going on? Who is pro? Who is against? What are the facts? What are the fictions?

As a confused foreigner I want to know the "truth"........Please enlighten me.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Stile, posted 08-13-2009 4:49 PM Straggler has responded
 Message 5 by ooh-child, posted 08-13-2009 5:39 PM Straggler has responded
 Message 7 by Taz, posted 08-13-2009 6:12 PM Straggler has responded
 Message 10 by Catholic Scientist, posted 08-13-2009 6:57 PM Straggler has not yet responded
 Message 22 by onifre, posted 08-14-2009 6:50 PM Straggler has not yet responded
 Message 26 by Hyroglyphx, posted 08-14-2009 10:10 PM Straggler has not yet responded
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Stile
Member
Posts: 2357
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 2 of 72 (519436)
08-13-2009 4:49 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
08-13-2009 4:28 PM


The Basics
My background:
I'm Canadian, not American, so this is not first hand.
My wife is Americain (now a Permanent Resident in Canada). When in America, she was raised in a "lower class" family income environment.

My source of US news is all too often "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart

Show rules. I watch it almost every night. As an aside.. PVRs rule too.

So what is going on?

Here is what I know of the basics (please correct if you know I'm wrong... anyone):

Healthcare in the US is provided by independent hospitals which generally get their money from independent insurance agencies.

Lower class healthcare is basically from a thing called Medic-Aid (a non-independent insurance from the government), from which hospitals know they won't get any (or very little) money from because it's been bankrupt for, like, years now or something. Therefore, when lower class citizens show their Medic-Aid card to a hospital, the hospital tries to dispose of the "customer" as quickly and cheaply as possible. This results in little to no health care for the Lower class.

Middle class healthcare, in general, is (mostly) equivalent to Canadain healthcare or British healthcare. You show your health-card (from a private insurance company obtained from work or personally) and they end up paying the hospital. However, because the insurance companies are also in the business of making money, this results in many insurance company disputes and there are a "disproportionate" (to put it lightly) number of incidences where re-imbursement (or sometimes even the care itself) is refused or limited. This can easily wind up sticking the Middle class with medical bills that they cannot possibly be expected to be able to cope with (often more than $50,000).

High Class healthcare (generally) is one of the best in the world. As long as you can pay for it, regardless of insurance coverage, you'll get top-notch service.

Mr. President Obama is currently trying to put a government-regulated system in place. I'm not sure if he's trying to regulate the insurance companies or the hospitals or both. But, basically, he's trying to put in a socialized healthcare system without using the word "socialized."

Who is pro?

Any Lower Class that has ever been hurt and gone to the hospital (they are pretty much all refused coverage/help... basically... sometimes they're "given help" in the sense of things to "tide them over" so they go away). Oh yeah.. hospitals are "not allowed" to flat-out turn around and strictly refuse Medic-Aid covered individuals. But, there's little restriction on how, specifically, they "treat" such "customers." Therefore they tend to get the lowest quality help to get them out the door to make room for "real, paying customers."

Any Middle Class that has ever had a large medical problem and therefore a life-altering negative experience with the insurance companies.

Anyone with half a brain who understands that "healthcare for everyone" should be a basic right in an industrialized nation.

Who is against?

High Class citizens.

Insurance companies. The insurance companies are very big and have lots of money and lots of lobbyists. Conspiracy theory I think is probably more true then not: They are likely starting all these blatently untrue-rumors for anyone who'll listen (mostly lower class) that "Obama will kill your grandma" and "the government will decide how and when you'll die" and "you won't have any choice in treatments ever again."

What are the facts? What are the fictions?

Specifically? I got nothing, I'm too far removed from the situation. But I hope this overview helps.

And this is also an open invitation for anyone here to correct me or add additional facts and opinions.

Edited by Stile, : Fixed up some confusing-sounding stuff

Edited by Stile, : This has got to be the worst abuse I've ever made of the editing system. I shall stop now.

Edited by Stile, : Just an innocent typo correction this time. No, really, it was. Promise.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Straggler, posted 08-13-2009 4:28 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Straggler, posted 08-13-2009 4:58 PM Stile has responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9938
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 3 of 72 (519439)
08-13-2009 4:58 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Stile
08-13-2009 4:49 PM


Re: The Basics
Cheers for your "kick start" post on US healthcare Stile.

And can I just say as an aside that you have been rockin in the various evidence/atheist/faith/delusion threads recently. My guess is that you have been thinking through your position in these areas quite avidly lately. [/end butt licking]

Anyway back to healthcare.........


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Stile
Member
Posts: 2357
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 4 of 72 (519440)
08-13-2009 5:00 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Straggler
08-13-2009 4:58 PM


Re: The Basics
Thanks, dude.

Have a quick glance-over my post again though. I changed a few small (but important) parts about the relationship between insurance companies and hospitals.

Still not entirely sure if I have it accurate, but we'll see.


This message is a reply to:
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ooh-child
Member
Posts: 133
Joined: 04-10-2009


Message 5 of 72 (519441)
08-13-2009 5:39 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
08-13-2009 4:28 PM


Well, I guess I'll take this opportunity to submit my first post here. Hello all!

As an American I've dealt with our health care system for alomst 50 years. When I was young, I never had a bad experience with our health care system, but things changed as I got older, moved out on my own, and had some not so wonderful dealings with health insurance companies.

First, here's a link to a site that covers a lot of the myths/facts surrounding our current debate:

http://ourfuture.org/healthcare/healthreformfactcheck

Personally, I've had routine doctor's visits billed to my insurance company denied for various reasons, resulting in me having to pay out of pocket for hundreds of dollars of tests ordered by my physician. I watched my brother have to divorce his wife & give her all of his personal assets in order to qualify for Medi-Cal once his MS got so bad he had to enter a nursing home - they couldn't afford for him to be cared for, otherwise.

I also assisted my mother once she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was old enough to qualify for Medicare, so all of her treatments, medicine, hospital stays & hospice care were covered. She had very little out of pocket expense related to her disease. We were able to keep her home & comfortable until she died, and we had no worries about finances to stress us during an already taxing time in our lives.

So, in my opinion we need an option like Medicare in this country for everyone - not just once we turn 65.

The other big problem is health insurance portability. I've changed jobs a lot over the years - some employers offered insurance, some didn't. When I was younger, I just went without coverage. As I got older, I knew I needed a least some coverage - just in case something bad happened. At least I was usually able to get covered under my husband's policy - many people here don't have that luxury. BTW - when I had to take a leave of absence from my work in order to take care of my mom when she was sick, my employer took away my health benefits. I had to pay for my own coverage during those 6 months - at 103% of what my employer was paying. It's called COBRA - and many people who lose their jobs just can't afford that.

So, that's my personal story regarding health care. There's thousands of stories much worse than mine. So many folks here don't even understand the debate - we have retired folks complaining they don't want our government meddling in their Medicare. Medicare is run by the government! Argh!

Let me know if I can offer any other insight for you, Straggler.

Edited by ooh-child, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Straggler, posted 08-14-2009 6:48 AM ooh-child has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 12671
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 6 of 72 (519445)
08-13-2009 5:56 PM


I've pretty much stopped debating on this subject. For the following reason.

It's like trying to talk a guy out of sawing his own head off. Anyone stupid enough to think that that was a good idea in the first place is almost certainly too stupid to understand my arguments as to why this is not a good idea.

So, hey, Americans, if you're dumb enough to think that there shouldn't be a public option, feel free to saw your own heads off. If you've really made up your minds to do that, I don't see that there's anything that I can say to dissuade you.


  
Taz
Member
Posts: 5047
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 7 of 72 (519446)
08-13-2009 6:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
08-13-2009 4:28 PM


I'll make this as simple as I can.

Pro health care reform position:
(1) Create a public option.
(2) If you're happy with your current insurance and choices, then this reform will not affect you.
(3) Insurance companies will not be able to deny care to preexisting conditions.
(4) Absolutely no change will be made to your current private insurance choices except the preexisting condition thing.

Opposition to the reform
(1) "Keep the government out of my medicare!"
(2) "I want my country back!"
(3) "I don't want to change my options!"
(4) "Obama is a communist, muslim terrorist!"

I heard the best analogy to our current option the other day. People who are opposing the public option for health care by saying it's government's way of taking over health care is like saying public bathrooms are the government's way of taking over the nation's bathrooms.

Right now, I'm trying to concentrate on something else as much as I can. I had a nervous breakdown the other day while listening to some very ignorant racist bastards yelling out lies, lies, and damn lies at a meeting. At my age, I don't want to suffer another breakdown.

Edited by Taz, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Straggler, posted 08-13-2009 6:18 PM Taz has responded
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 9938
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 8 of 72 (519447)
08-13-2009 6:18 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Taz
08-13-2009 6:12 PM


So.....
Is the bill going to go through?

Or has the hysteria and propaganda effectively worked?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Taz, posted 08-13-2009 6:12 PM Taz has responded

Replies to this message:
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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 11 days)
Posts: 2615
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 9 of 72 (519452)
08-13-2009 6:51 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Taz
08-13-2009 6:12 PM


Hi, Taz.

My father is opposed to socialized healthcare because it will require significant raises in taxes to pay for it, and the tax will be taken from everybody, not just the people who choose the public option.

Thus, the choices, in his mind, are to get the public insurance, or get his own private insurance, and pay for the public insurance anyway. Obviously, if these are the options, nobody is going to pick the latter option, so we'll end up with only one choice for insurance anyway.

Whether or not this is accurate, I don't personally know. I'm not knowledgeable enough in financial, social or political policies to feel like I can venture my own opinion, but I thought I should throw this one out there.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Taz, posted 08-13-2009 6:12 PM Taz has responded

Replies to this message:
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 Message 16 by caffeine, posted 08-14-2009 9:27 AM Blue Jay has responded

  
Catholic Scientist
Member
Posts: 9354
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 10 of 72 (519453)
08-13-2009 6:57 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
08-13-2009 4:28 PM


Hi Straggler,

I don't know how much I can help with the facts of the situation, but I can offer my experiences and opinions.

Can anyone explain to me the situation with the current healthcare bill in the US?

No

My source of US news is all too often "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart (and even he doesn't pretend that this is news as such ).

What a great show! and dude!

My last viewing portrayed a series of irate and incredibly aggressive confrontations in local town halls with anti-healthcare members of the public denouncing Obama as a communist Arab selling America to the devil.

I've seen a lot of this crap on the news. A lot of people, and myself, just don't know what the new plan has to offer. And other people aren't afraid to speculate and bitch about it.

So what is going on? Who is pro? Who is against? What are the facts? What are the fictions?

As a confused foreigner I want to know the "truth"........Please enlighten me.

Can anyone explain to me the situation with the current healthcare bill in the US?
My source of US news is all too often "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart (and even he doesn't pretend that this is news as such ). My last viewing portrayed a series of irate and incredibly aggressive confrontations in local town halls with anti-healthcare members of the public denouncing Obama as a communist Arab selling America to the devil.

So what is going on? Who is pro? Who is against? What are the facts? What are the fictions?

As a confused foreigner I want to know the "truth"........Please enlighten me.

Here's where I thought I could add some personal testimony that I thought you might want to read (feel free to tell me you don't care)

I grew up in an upper middle class family and had health insurance. Whenever I broke bones or got sick, adequate health care was available and affordable (ie. the premiums). My parent got pissed when i was reckless (which was a lot), but it was never a "problem" for them to afford.

Now, I have a great job and have my own health insurance and the premiums are affordable should I get hurt or sick (with exceptions). If I need to go to my doctor, which I reserve for the "last resort" as I'm smart enough to figure out on my own if I *really* need to go or not, then it only cost me twenty bucks (and honestly, the doctor hasn't really helped much as they thought my finger nail infection was simply in-grown when I told them explicitly that I could feel that it was more than that and that I wouldn't be there if it was just that) and I usually just see the nurse practitioner instead of the doctor himself (supposedly unless itís really serious business which I haven't had to test yet).

However, I cut the shit out of my thumb one night... like, half off and dangling. I went specifically to the hospital that I was covered under, knowing that this was "serious business" (unlike the stomach or headaches that people seem to bog down the system with). So, when I get the bill, it is from a 3rd party company out of Texas that is *NOT* covered under my insurance. They ran the Emergency Services, instead of the covered hospital themselves, and the insurance only covered 20% of the bill instead of the expected 80% (the difference between ďcoveredĒ and ďnot coveredĒ depends on the facility you go to). This was a problem for me as it ended up being about $350 that I didnít think I would have to be paying that month (which I didnít end up paying until months later so it really wasnít that much of a ďproblemĒ after all, just unexpected).
Well dangÖ I just spent 43 min. on the phone my boss (Iím actually in an airport waiting for a flight) so Iíve lost my train of thought. Iím just going to submit this now instead of trying to figure out where I was. I hope this at least partially answers some aspects of your questions.

All in all though, being uneducated on the situation, I still donít believe that the government can do a better job with the healthcare than private organizations (look how bad theyíve screwed up other stuff). And, making this quick as Iím short on time now, I donít really want to pay for other peopleís healthcare through taxes as I feel that they donít do everything they can to better themselves, and I feel that a lot of them bog down the system by going to the emergency room for a belly aches nístuff that I wouldnít personally go for, and I want to be able to choose my own doctor and services, etc. Iím not currently in support of Obamaís new healthcare plan.

Honestly though, I admit I don't know much about the specifics or how they'd affect me. I just generally opposed to the idea.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Straggler, posted 08-13-2009 4:28 PM Straggler has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 81 days)
Posts: 3943
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 11 of 72 (519457)
08-13-2009 7:07 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Straggler
08-13-2009 6:18 PM


Re: So.....
Is the bill going to go through?

Or has the hysteria and propaganda effectively worked?

It's working far too well for comfort. A coworker just the other day started talking about Palin's "death panels;" she said that they may not call it a death panel, but there will be a decision made on how long to continue care.

She's right - except the decision will be made by the patient, their family, and their doctor, like it always has. Nobody, anywhere, at all, is actually proposing euthanasia or refusing life-extending treatment or treatment to reduce suffering.

All of the lies about wait times (we have wait times now, too) or reduced coverage (awfully hard to argue with a public option, since all it can do is raise coverage to a minimum level while everyone who wants private coverage can act like nothing happened) continue to sway the unthoughtful.

The level of untruth being spread around in "they'll kill your grandmother" ads and the like is absolutely staggaring, as is the effort being put into disrupting any outlet that could clear up such distortions and lies. The town hall meetings have so far been a mass of screaming with very little actual debate.

People are afraid, really. Half of the country doesn't think there's a real problem, except that their premiums have gone up in the past few years. The lie that the US has the best healthcare in the world is still believed even by people who should know better.

It could go either way. Personally, I'm more worried that the bill will pass in such a mangled state that we'll actually mess things up worse. No public option, but with mandatory coverage for all - the health insurer's wet dream as every person in the country is forced by law to buy insurance from them.

The facts of healthcare in the US are pretty dismal.

Despite all of the talk about "competition," the fact is most people with health insurance have little or no choice in their provider; their employer makes that decision for them. I was able to choose between two carriers with two levels of coverage from each with my employer. Private insurance away from an employer is a joke - it's far too expensive (and in my case not an option - my girlfriend has a pre-existing condition that will automatically get her rejected with a private plan, so I had to add her on my insurance as a domestic partner).

I pay almost 10% of my gross income for health coverage for myself and my girlfriend. Since she's a Domestic Partner, the portion I and my employer pay for her are taxable. Every quarter, I pay about another $200 or so in taxes to cover my employer's portion. That's before any actual trips to the doctor; premiums only. We pay almost another $100 monthly in prescriptions, plus regular $20 copays for doctor visits.

People with pre-existing conditions are regularly refused coverage. In many cases, insurers will deny coverage that is supposed to be covered because it cuts into their profits. If you have HIV/AIDS, you'd better find a local charity or other program set up to help you. Private insurance will be far too expensive if they'll take you at all. Here in California, there are government programs that help HIV/AIDS patients with their drug costs. These government programs don't exist everywhere; people right now, today, die due to lack of coverage because they cannot afford necessary medical care (I use HIV/AIDS as an example because someone close to me has the disease and so I've seen a lot of it for myself; I imagine many other serious conditions are similar).

Hospitals are forced to give lifesaving treatments to the uninsured, but they don't have to do anything preventative. In other words, they'll save your life if you have a heart attack, but they won't do anything about the underlying condition unless you pay.

Many people are underinsured and don't even realize it. Their coverage doesn't provide enough - it just makes them think they're safe. In some cases couples have had to divorce, because one partner was being hounded so badly by medical collections agencies that only by dividing their income through divorce could they retain their assets.

Our healthcare decisions are already made by beaurocrats, except these beaurocrats' motivation is profit, not your health. There are worse than death panels right now - Sarah Palin may be able to afford treatment and care for her disabled child for the rest of his life, but that's nto the case with most children with developmental disabilities. What do you think happens after the parents can no longer afford treatment, or die?

We need a public option. Personally, I'd rather nationalize all of the healthcare providers and set up a single-payer system, turning what citizens and employers pay now as premiums into taxes (and raising them as necessary) to cover everyone in the country. It shouldn't cost $20,000 to have a baby. People shouldn;t have to worry about healthcare if they get laid off, or feel forced to remain with an employer because they can't afford the 6-month wait for a new employer's benefits to kick in. People shouldn't die becasue they couldn't afford lifesaving treatments.

Private insurance is a protection racket in the US: pay us, or you're going to die. It's an inherently predatory and broken system if the goal is increasing the health and wellbeing of the population.

In the US, we have adequate healthcare - as long as you have the money to pay for it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Straggler, posted 08-13-2009 6:18 PM Straggler has not yet responded

  
Taz
Member
Posts: 5047
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 12 of 72 (519465)
08-13-2009 10:18 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Blue Jay
08-13-2009 6:51 PM


Bluejay writes:

My father is opposed to socialized healthcare because it will require significant raises in taxes to pay for it, and the tax will be taken from everybody, not just the people who choose the public option.


This is, of course, more lies being distributed by the racist right.

Two-thirds of the proposed program can already be paid by current budgets. The argument in congress right now is how to pay for the remaining one-third. There are many options available on the table to choose from, and raising taxes for everybody ain't one of them. If this bill passes, the next thing on the agenda will be to pick from the many options available to pay for the remaining one-third. Then of course, people are too racist and hysterical to actually pay attention to the real discussion to know the difference between reality and delusion.

As far as I'm concern, this debate is over. If stupid Americans want to screw themselves in the ass because they don't want to actually become informed, I say let them.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Blue Jay, posted 08-13-2009 6:51 PM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by Blue Jay, posted 08-14-2009 1:52 PM Taz has responded

  
Taz
Member
Posts: 5047
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 13 of 72 (519466)
08-13-2009 10:24 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Straggler
08-13-2009 6:18 PM


Re: So.....
Straggler writes:

Is the bill going to go through?


I doubt it, but there's always the miracle option...

Or has the hysteria and propaganda effectively worked?

So far as I can see, it's worked enough that just enough Americans buy into the lies that the bill won't pass.

I mean, if Sarah Palin outright lied to all the Americans watching her going away speech by calling one of the proposals "death panel" and nobody seems to care, what does that tell you about the moral right and their moral high grounds?

I cringed with a sharp pain when I heard her use "death panel" on national television. I mean... I'm just a regular joe and I know more about this stuff than the former vice presidential candidate... Am I the only one terrified that she might actually get voted into office in the not-so-distant future?


This message is a reply to:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 2124
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 14 of 72 (519472)
08-14-2009 1:18 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Taz
08-13-2009 10:24 PM


Re: So.....
No, you are not the only one.

It seems that the thing that Republicans have is fear and hate. You can't build any kind of viable solution to our problems with only that.

One of the things I briefly encountered early in my aerospace software career was missile tracking. When a missile would lost its lock on the target it was tracking and could not reacquire lock, we would say that it had "gone stupid".

With all the time before the next presidential election, Palin will hopefully go stupid enough and self-destruct so that only the most rabid idiots^H^H^H^H^H^HRepublicans would still think that she's the greatest thing since ground wheat.


This message is a reply to:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 9938
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 15 of 72 (519490)
08-14-2009 6:48 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by ooh-child
08-13-2009 5:39 PM


Welcome....
Well, I guess I'll take this opportunity to submit my first post here. Hello all!

Hello to you too. Despite starting this topic I intend to take a bit of a backseat and just see what others have to say on the matter.

However given that your first post here was a reply to my OP I felt compelled to at least say "Hi" back. Welcome!!

Let me know if I can offer any other insight for you, Straggler.

I am going to see what others have to say first. But knowing myself I am sure I will be unable to resist chucking in my own twopenneth and asking a load of questions at some point.

Stay Happy


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